Liquid-phase sorption characteristics of human hair as a natural oil spill sorbent

Augustine O. Ifelebuegu, Tuan van Anh Nguyen, Peter Ukotije-Ikwut, Zenebu Momoh

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34 Citations (Scopus)


The potential of human hair as an oil spill sorbent was investigated in this study by batch adsorption experiments in vegetable oil, crude oil and diesel fuel. Three categories of human hairs were used: Type A (Asian origin), Type B (European origin) and Type C (African origin). The order of performance based on the sorption capacities was in the order: Type C > Type A > Type B. All hair types adsorbed three to nine times their weight in oil. Maximum adsorption capacities of 9300 ± 64, 8100 ± 165 and 7917 ± 72 mg/g were achieved for Type C hair in vegetable oil, crude oil and diesel fuel, respectively. The sorption capacity of human hair showed an inverse relationship with temperature for all the oils and sorption occurred on heterogeneous sites with no uniform distribution of energy. Desorption and reusability test showed high reusability without any significant deterioration in sorption capacity. The study demonstrated that human hair has potential for use as a low-cost, effective and environmentally friendly biosorbent for oil spill cleanup.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)938-943
JournalJournal of Environmental Chemical Engineering
Issue number2
Early online date21 Feb 2015
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2015

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  • Oil spill
  • Oil sorption
  • Human hair
  • Sorption capacity
  • Sorption kinetics


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